Category Archives: Singularity

Singularity 1.8.7

singularityThursday, June 16th saw the first full release of Singularity in almost two years, with version 1.8.7.6861being offered for download.

As the release notes explain, the delay in updates for the viewer have been due to a number of reasons – not the least of which was the sad passing of Latif Khalifa (to whom this release is dedicated), and also the departure of one of the viewers core developers for pastures new. There have also be various infrastructure and hardware issues which have frustrated attempts at update.

The new release is currently for Windows 32-bit and 64-bit, and Linux 64-bit only, The team hopes to get the Mac version back on track as well, and are currently seeking a Mac developer to help with this.

Given the length of time since the last full release, there have obviously been a lot of changes, including getting back towards parity with many of the Lab’s own updates, as well as singularity’s own bug fixes and the adoption of elements from Alchemy.

As usual, I don’t propose giving an in-depth review of all the changes to the viewer here, but will attempt to highlight some of the more significant.

Lab-derived Changes

Tool Chain Update

Perhaps the most significant change with this release is under-the-hood. Singularity is now built using the latest tools and libraries recommended by Linden Lab. For Windows, this means that with the 1.8.7 release, the viewer no longer supports Windows XP. It also means that when the Mac version of the viewer is updated, Singularity will no longer support anything earlier than OSX 10.7 going forward.

TLS 1.2 Support

Singularity 1.8.7 is TLS 1.2 complaint, meaning you can use the built-in web browser to make LindeX transactions or SL marketplace purchases if you so wish.

Hover Height

The Hover height slider is available via the Quick Prefs panel

The Hover height slider is available via the Quick Prefs panel

The Lab’s Hover Height functionality has been added to the Singularity Quick Pref panel (click the UP arrow button, lower right-hand corner of the viewer window). As per the official Hover Height it works to a range of +/- 2 metres.

Independent of Hover Height, but a little similar in nature and so worth mentioning here is a new /hover command, which is described as “supporting values of -50 through 50”, however, during testing on Aditi, I found that the maximum height by which I was moved was around 5 metres, regardless of anything set above that. I therefore assume the release notes should read “supporting values of -5.0 through 5.0” – although admittedly I’ve not referred this back to the Singularity developers for confirmation.

Other Lab-Driven Updates

  • Latest inventory protocol (AISv3) support has been merged in to maintain future SL inventory handling compatibility
  • QtWebkit browser has been replaced with a Chromium variant
  • The SLVoice plug-in (Vivox) has been updated to parity with the SL viewer
  • Server-Side Baking (avatar appearance has been updated
  • Avatar rendering information is now reported to the simulator (although the local complexity limit slider has not been implemented in Preferences > Graphics) so this is not a full Avatar Complexity implementation).

Preferences Updates

Input and Camera

For combat enthusiasts, Preferences > Input and Camera includes two new options:

  • Display targeted avatar’s name under the crosshair
  • Display position and avatar health (your own avatar, in damage-enabled regions)
The new Mouselook options in Preferences > Input & Camera

The new Mouselook options in Preferences > Input & Camera

Communication Chat Preferences Updates

  • Preferences > Communications: you can now select which conference calls to accept / block (Accept all, accept Friends Only, Block all)
  • Preferences > Adv. Chat > Chat UI allows you to select displaying user names, display name, display name with user names or user names with display names from a drop-down list
  • Preferences > Adv. Chat > Autoresponse now splits auto response options into separate sub-tabs. Also, autoresponse options can now be selected via the World menu > Status sub-menu
Revised auto response options layout

Revised auto response options layout

  • Adv Chat > Spam includes a new option to block LM offers.

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Singularity provides update to address AMD Catalyst driver issues

singularityUpdate, March 21st: AMD have release a new set of Catalyst™ drivers, version 15.3 beta, which include a potential fix for the rigged mesh issues – see my notes here.

As I’ve previously reported in this blog, recent AMD Catalyst™ driver updates have resulted in numerous issues for SL users running AMD graphics cards and attempting to use the latest driver updates. These started with the 14.9.1 drivers, but which became particularly pronounced with the  14.9.2 drivers failing to render rigged mesh unless hardware skinning is disabled (see: BUG-7653), problems which increased with AMD switched yo automatic updates with the release of their 14.12 drivers.

In December 2014, Yoho Waco offered a workaround for the problems affecting more recent drivers (e.g. 14.12) using the 14.9 DLL files to overcome some of the issues presented by those drivers, and which should work for most viewers. With Yoho permission, I offered his workaround as an article in its own right, and DMC Jurassic reported the same approach could be used with 1.4.4 driver DLL files to resolve issues caused by both the more recent driver updates and those cause by the 14.9.2 driver update.

Recent AMD Catalyst™ drivers (1.4.9.2 onwards) have been problematic for Sl users, presenting a series of mesh rendering problems as a result of changing openGL support within the drivers (image courtesy of Maestro Linden, click for full-size)

Recent AMD Catalyst™ drivers (1.4.9.2 onwards) have been problematic for Sl users, presenting a series of mesh rendering problems as a result of changing openGL support within the drivers (image courtesy of Maestro Linden, click for full-size)

Now the Singularity team have stepped up, offering their users who use AMD graphics cards and who have particularly been affected by the rigged mesh issues found when using the more recent Catalyst™ drivers.

Version 1.8.6.6157 of the viewer, released on February 27th, 2015, is labelled as a “supplemental” update to the viewer because, as the release notes state, it only provides a fix for this particular set of problems, and offers no additional updates to the viewer as a whole.

Therefore, if you are not affected by the Catalyst™ driver problems, there is no need for you to update. However, if you have been affected by the problems, then this update could well be for you.

Related Links

With thanks to Maya Rosenstar for the pointer.

Singularity 1.8.6: customise your toolbar and more

singularityThe Singularity team released version 1.8.6.6156 of their v1-style viewer on Thursday September 4th. The new release brings a hots of updates from the Singularity team, the official viewer and various TPV developers.

As well as implementing  range of new features within the viewer, the release includes various updates to the UI – Preferences panel changes, floater panel updates, etc., and offers Singularity users the option to customise the buttons the viewer displays at the foot of the window.

The following notes highlight some of the key changes to the viewer. As always, for a full list of updates and changes, and for full details on all accreditation for such changes and updates, please refer to the Singularity 1.8.6 release notes.

Customise Your Toolbar Buttons

This release of Singularity brings with it the ability to add / remove buttons from the viewer’s toolbar, a-la 3.x viewers. Obviously, buttons are restricted to the bottom of the viewer, but this is liable to be of interest to users as it allows some degree of customisation in the UI. 80+ button options are offered, providing a comprehensive range of options and possible button combinations to suit your needs.

Singularity's impressive range of toolbar buttons

Singularity’s impressive range of toolbar buttons

Adding / removing buttons is a simple matter of opening the button chooser (View > Change Toolbar Buttons) and then checking those buttons to be displayed and unchecked those which are not wanted. The range of available buttons is impressive, and includes just about everything you’d ever likely want to see as a button. However, given the nature of the toolbar area itself, things can get a little crowded if you go nuts opening a tonne of buttons!

Preferences Updates

There have been a number of Preferences panel and tabs updates with this release, including:

  • System > Security is now System > Security & Privacy, and includes the additional options:
    • Emergency Teleport (see below
    • An option to Render Muted Avatars
    • Announce in chat when people bump you
    • Lines from avatar to their Look At beacons
    • Customizable name display for Look At beacons
  • Input & Camera
    • Azerty keyboard support
    • Realistic Mouselook
  • Adv. Chat -> Chat UI
    • Format for names in lists
    • Autoscroll for automatic scroll to the bottom of chat when it gains focus
  • Graphics:
    • Hardware tab > VSync – adaptive option (providing your driver supports it)
    • Depth of Field tab added
  • Vanity->Main, Connect to neighboring regions: Save bandwidth & CPU usage by not connecting to neighbouring regions.

Floater Panel Updates

The following are either new, or changed floater panels with Singularity 1.8.6:

  • Destination Guide (World >Destinations): for OpenSim,  allow the destination guide to change when Hypergrid jumping
  • Default Avatar Picker Floater (World >Default Avatars)
  • New media filter implementation
  • Detailed Land Impact display
  • The default permissions floater has been overhauled, it now matches the one found in the official viewer, with permissions for each individual type of item are offered

Emergency Teleport

Even been logged-out of SL during a rolling restart due to being AFK, or been caught by a restart when you’ve missed the warnings? Well, neither need ever be a bother to you again with Singularity.

Version 1.8.6 see the arrival of the Emergency Teleport feature. Preferences > System > Security and Privacy includes two slots into which landmarks can be dropped. Should you be caught AFK during a region restart, Singularity will attempt to auto-teleport you to the first landmark in the final 20 seconds before the restart occurs. If that destination is unavailable, the second LM will be used in a further attempt to teleport you.

The Emergency Teleport LM slots

The Emergency Teleport LM slots

In addition, Singularity also includes the STORM-1980 screen shake and restart warnings, and there is an option to automatically minimise the latter in Preferences > System > Security and Privacy, which can be found directly above the Emergency Teleport LM slots.

Mini-Map Enhancements

Singularity 1.8.6 offers a range of mini-map enhancements, including:

  • Show parcel boundaries and parcels for sale:  mini-map menu: > Show > Property Lines /  & Mini-map menu: > Show > Property Lines
The Mini-map parcel options and other menu options

The Mini-map parcel options and other menu options

  • Option to use world map textures: Mini-map menu > World Map Textures
  • Scroll zoom is now based on where your mouse is, if centering on camera is off
  • Option to show tracking circles around people selected on the radar while the radar is visible: Mini-map menu: Show > Radar Tracking Circles
  • Marking on the mini-map changes custom colouring of avatar tags (on a per session basis)
  • Implementation of the Exodus multiple selection tool:
    • On mouse-over, a circle is shown beneath your cursor, this is the effective range of right clicking to mark
    • Change the range by holding Shift while scrolling
    • Other menu functions invoked on right-click still only work on the closest dot to your mouse
  • Prim torture limits are now standardised in line with other viewers.

 Build Updates

Version 1.8.6 brings with it a number of building updates, including:

  • Avoid problems when meshes with invalid joint names are encountered
  • Prim Alignment Tool updated
  • Object Import/Export enhancements, including improvements from Cool VL Viewer – support for Materials (specular and normal maps), Object Physics and Light Image.

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Singularity 1.8.5: Fitted Mesh, “mouse move” and more

singularityThe Singularity team have issued a new release of their viewer – version 1.8.5.5617 – which brings with it a host of new features, options, additions and fixes. There’s quite a lot packed into the release, so this is another overview of the updates, rather than an in-depth review.

Fitted Mesh

With this release, Singularity now supports Fitted Mesh. Reading FITMESH-6,  I believe I’m correct in saying this release includes the fixes from Runitai Linden which addresses those issues and FITMESH-20, although there may be a couple of outstanding points in the fixes.

Sadly, I can’t test the viewer against the fitted mesh test articles the Lab supplied to me in order to preview the release of the original project viewer as I, um, managed to accidentally delete said assets *cough* …

“Mouse Move” and Additional Mouselook Options

I emphasise “mouse move” is my term, not that of the Singularity crew, although it pretty aptly describes the function. Most people are probably familiar with the fact that we can left-clicking and holding the button down, it is possible to turn our avatar. In Singularity, it is now possible to point to your avatar, left-click (and hold) the left mouse button and then right-click (and hold) the right mouse button, move around.

This may sound odd, given the various ways avatar movement can already be achieved, but as I use a trackball, I have to say I found it particularly effective in moving around (although fingers did tend to get a little tired when moving for extended periods, but that’s more to do with the position of my trackball, rather than a problem with the implementation. I can see the option potentially being useful when moving around game / combat environments and when used with “worn” means of transportation.

Mouselook Options

Version 1.8.5 includes the ability to select which parts of the UI to show when in Mouselook. The options are floaters, menu bar and notices and can be toggled on / of via check boxes in Preferences > Input & Camera >UI Hidden in Mouselook. Note that checking items means they will not appear in Mouselook.

Select which UI elements you wish to hide / se when in Mouselook

Select which UI elements you wish to hide / se when in Mouselook

Also, when operating in Mouselook, you can now ALT-Tab  between Singularity and other open applications and back without getting thrown out of ML.

Camera Updates

There are a couple of very useful camera updates with this release:

  • Allow alt-camming and terrain parcel selection from farther away, easing tasks such as partitioning regions and zooming around
  • A Reset Camera Preset Angle to Default option has been added to the View menu for undoing changes made to camera angle by CTRL and/or SHIFT+scrolling. In relations to this, the release notes additionally state: option to change camera angle through this method is now off by default, and that if your camera angle had been messed up in the last release, this option can spare you a full reset

Underwater Shadows

Merfolk and those into underwater exploration can now have their time beneath the waves enhanced as  Singularity will now render shadows underwater (requires ALM and shadows to be enabled via Preferences > Graphics).

Underwater shadows

Underwater shadows

Rendering  / Graphics Updates

This release sees some significant updates to rendering / graphics, including:

  • Fixes to shader compilation problems and standards compliance issues
  • Enhanced support for Intel GPUs on Linux
  • Enhanced support for Nvidia cards (NVAPI) which among other things allows automatic use of discrete GPU in dual GPU systems
  • SSAO separated into its own shader allowing speed optimization by running it at a lower-than-native framebuffer resolution
  • Several improvements to the performance of the rendering engine.

Other Bits

The release also sees:

  • Support added for the new LSL linkset scaling functions (: llScaleByFactor, llGetMinScaleFactor, and llGetMaxScaleFactor)
  • Improved performance of glow and ribbon capabilities
  • Ability to display cost per sq. m. for parcels on sale on the map
  • Ability to resize the Appearance floater.

There are also a number of bug fixes and other enhancements, so please refer to the release notes for a full run-down of everything from the team.

Feedback

Quite an extensive update from the team again, and one which should more than satisfy Singularity users. The addition of Fitted Mesh, enhanced support of particle capabilities and the linkset scaling are liable to please a lot of people, and the list of fixes for issues should also keep users happy.

As noted above, I quite like the new “mouse move” option in third-person view; using my trackball meant I could wander around and adjust my camera height somewhat to give me a good variation when looking ahead a lot more easily than when using the cursor keys (which is usually how I move). This proved very useful when negotiating confined spaces, such as inside my boat. The underwater shadows are also a pretty (literally and figuratively) cool addition.

All-in-all a very tidy release, and kudos to the Singularity team.

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